Effects of time of suckling during the solar day on duration of the postpartum anovulatory interval in Brahman x Hereford (F1) cows. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previously published reports have indicated that postpartum anovulatory intervals can be markedly reduced and rebreeding performance enhanced in Bos taurus cows by eliminating nighttime suckling. We sought to confirm this hypothesis by examining the effects of day, nighttime, and ad libitum suckling on suckling behavior of calves, duration of the postpartum anovulatory interval, and pregnancy rates in 45 fall-calving Brahman x Hereford (F1) cows. Beginning on d 9 to 12 postpartum, calves were removed from lactating cows from 0700 to 1900 (Night-Suckled, n = 15) or from 1900 to 0700 (Day-Suckled, n = 15), or remained with their dams continuously (Ad Libitum-Suckled, n = 15). Cows in each group were maintained with fertile Angus bulls from d 10 postpartum until the first normal luteal phase or 100 d postpartum, whichever occurred first. Cows were observed for estrous behavior twice daily, and jugular blood samples were collected twice weekly for the determination of serum progesterone concentration. Mean number of suckling episodes per 24 h was greater (P < .0001) for the Ad Libitum-Suckled group than either Night- or Day-Suckled groups (5.9+/-.42 vs 3.8+/-.14, and 3.9+/-.32, respectively). Hourly analysis of suckling episodes in the Ad Libitum group indicated that they were not skewed toward a particular period, with suckling occurring at a periodicity of 4 to 6 h. Intervals to the first rise in progesterone > or = 1 ng/mL (32+/-2.5, 32+/-4.5, and 31+/-1.7 d, respectively), first normal luteal phase (38+/-3.1, 38+/-3.8, and 37+/-2.5 d, respectively), and first estrus (43+/-3.5, 40+/-3.9, and 36+/-1.1 d, respectively) did not differ (P > .05) among the three groups. Similarly, cumulative pregnancy rates within 100 d after calving did not differ (P > .05). These results in Bos indicus x Bos taurus (F1) cattle do not support the previous conclusions in Bos taurus that eliminating nighttime suckling reduces the postpartum anovulatory interval.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Gazal, O. S., Guzman-Vega, G. A., & Williams, G. L.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Gazal, OS||Guzman-Vega, GA||Williams, GL

publication date

  • May 1999